Hillary Clinton, the widely despised former Democratic Party presidential candidate, has slandered two of her political opponents—Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein—as traitors and Russian spies.
The World Socialist Web Site has fundamental political differences with both Ms. Gabbard and Dr. Stein. But Clinton’s claims, made without the slightest effort at factual substantiation, are an attempt to criminalize the anti-war statements of the two candidates as treasonous.
Clinton’s attacks on Gabbard and Stein make clear once again that the Democrats’ assertions of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 election were primarily aimed not at Trump, but at the anti-war and anti-capitalist sentiments that led millions of people to refuse to vote for her in 2016.
They underscore how the Democrats have appropriated the McCarthyite tactics historically associated primarily with the Republican right.
As a central part of their anti-Russia campaign, Clinton and the Democrats promoted the media effort to poison public opinion against journalist Julian Assange by slandering him as a “Russian agent,” preparing the way for the Trump administration to indict him on bogus espionage charges and secure his imprisonment in London under conditions that threaten his life.
At the same time, in the name of countering the supposed menace of Russian “fake news,” the Democrats pressured Google to slash search traffic to left-wing political websites and insisted that Facebook and Twitter delete left-wing accounts with millions of followers.
In a podcast interview published Thursday, Clinton told former Obama adviser David Plouffe, “I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Implicitly but clearly referring to Gabbard, Clinton continued, “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”
“They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her,” Clinton added.
Asked later if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard in her comment, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN, “If the nesting doll fits…”
Clinton then went on to make her strongest assertion yet that Jill Stein was a “Russian asset.”
“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “Yes, she’s a Russian asset, I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate.”
Gabbard replied to Clinton’s slander on Twitter by declaring, “Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.”
Gabbard’s performance in this week’s Democratic presidential debate no doubt put her in Clinton’s crosshairs. Gabbard vowed, “As president, I will end these regime-change wars,” and “would make sure that we stop supporting terrorists like Al Qaeda in Syria, who have been the ground force in this ongoing regime-change war.”
Gabbard’s true statement that the United States—with Clinton as secretary of state under Obama—had allied with forces linked to Al Qaeda in the drive to overthrow the Syrian government was passed over in total silence by the rest of the candidates and the CNN and New York Times moderators. It was then blacked out in the post-debate media coverage of the event.
In an earlier debate, Gabbard said the greatest geopolitical danger facing the United States was the threat of nuclear war—another taboo in the broadcast media, which routinely demands that the United States “stand up” to Russia without mentioning what a military confrontation with the nuclear-armed country would look like.
Toward the end of Thursday’s interview, Clinton implicitly called for censorship. She condemned the growth of internet news outlets, which have broadened the number and range of sources of information available to the population.
“I think it’s a lot harder for Americans to know what they’re supposed to believe,” she said. In the 1970s, with only three major national newspapers, “It was a much more controllable environment.”
Jill Stein advocates the reform of capitalism and is an opponent of Marxism. She has stated that she is opposed to “state socialism.” Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq war and major in the Hawaii National Guard, describes herself as a “hawk” in many aspects of US foreign policy.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the statements they have made in opposition to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria correspond to the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of the American people, who see these wars of aggression launched on the basis of lies, which have killed and maimed millions, as a criminal squandering of lives and resources.
Clinton, speaking for a rabidly pro-war faction of the American financial oligarchy and the military-intelligence establishment, sees these sentiments as treasonous and argues for their criminalization.
Her statements make clear once again that the working class has no stake in the struggle between the Trump faction and his opponents in the Democratic Party and intelligence apparatus. Trump, relying on fascistic appeals to his right-wing base, is seeking to turn the United States into a personalist dictatorship. But Clinton’s faction does not oppose his concentration camps for immigrants or his pro-corporate agenda. Rather, it opposes Trump on the grounds that he is “soft” on Russia and insufficiently aggressive in waging America’s wars.